These little seasonal and festive cakes have a lot of flavor thanks to kabocha, a round Japanese squash. Served fresh out of the oven, they pair deliciously with any sweet, airy cream sauce. This easy recipe is a wonderful way to end a hearty and satisfying Thanksgiving feast. by Leah Hirschman and Elise Gerdes

Adapted from Epicurious

Serves 6

  • 2 cups of 3/4-inch cubes peeled, seeded kabocha squash (from one 3-pound squash)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Lager (mild-flavored beer)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Combine squash and milk in heavy small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in two lengthwise. Add the vanilla  to the saucepan, using a knife to scrape the seeds out of the pod. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove vanilla bean, drain squash and  place in processor, blending until smooth.

2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray six ¾ cup ramekins with nonstick spray. Place 1/2 cup squash puree in large bowl (the rest can be used for another use or recipe!). Add sugar, oil, beer, and egg to puree and beat to blend. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt over; beat to blend. Divide batter among prepared ramekins, filling about ⅔ full.

3. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Cool cakes in ramekins and then turn out onto plates. Serve cakes with whipped cream, vanilla sauce, or icingyour choice!